HaftSeen – The Persian New Year’s Beautiful Still-Life

1-Persian-New-Year-Norooz-Persian-Food-Blog-Haftseen-table-hyacinth-eggs-apple-seebAn iconic Norooz custom is creating a still-life tableau called HaftSeen — literally meaning:  “Seven S’s” —  a display of at least seven traditional and symbolic-laden items, all bearing names that begin with the letter “S” in Farsi.  Hence: Seven S.

Here’s a handy-dandy guide to what you would find in a haftseen display and the idealized wishes it symbolizes for the new year:

Persian-New-Year-Norooz-Persian-Food-Blog-Haftseen-table

Candles, a mirror, a bowl of gold fish, fresh flowers, rose water, a holy book of one’s faith or the poetry books of revered Persian poets Hafiz or Rumi or Khayam, decorated eggs, and a mixed plate of traditional Iranian shirini (pastry) are “non-S” items that have carved an indelible niche at the haftseen table for themselves.  Some also float an orange in a crystal bowl of water to symbolize the planet earth.

People are of course at liberty to add other objects of delight as a personal touch to the setting as well.  (See how different people have put their own spin on the traditional template of this Norooz staple on this Flickr page.)

I’m biased of course but not alone in finding the making and setting of haftseen to be a truly poignant and poetic custom. The heart of the new year’s celebration.

It is at the proximity of the haftseen display that a family gathers to await the exact moment when winter ends and spring begins; and thus dawns the  “New Day” or Norooz.  This year Winter ends tomorrow at approximately 7 am Eastern Standard time.

So when we meet again, winter will be over. It will be spring.  Norooz.  A new day!

Until then, Happy Spring!

And if you observe this beautiful holiday:  Dorood bar shoma!  Norooz  ‘etoon Pirooz!

57-C-Norooz-haft-seen-sin-Persian-food-blog-recipe

30 thoughts on “HaftSeen – The Persian New Year’s Beautiful Still-Life

  1. Azita-jan, Eid’e Norooz’e shoma va khanevadeh’tan mobarak!!!
    Insha’allah sal’e por az salamati va shirin-kam bayaye hameh bashad.

    Very, very cute haft-seen and definition collages!
    I made baghlava last night and you’ll see it tomorrow morning! :D

    • Fae Joon! Please call me “to” not “shoma”! Ma ba ham joon jooni hastim, na? I’m always so happy to see your smiley face icon. Lucky those who get to taste your baghlava. Really looking forward to the post.

      Norooze’toon mobarak basheh – to you and your family!

  2. How beautiful, Happy Norooz to you, I think it’s such a beautiful tradition with each item having a special meaning, and what a gorgeous table with all of those beautiful symbolic items.

    • This morning felt like winter now it’s really like spring. Yes! I love the symbolic meanings as well and there’s just something very spiritual about the whole things but any who ….

      Thank you & happy spring to you!!

    • I’m partial to all seasons except summer. But agree, something magical about spring. How’s your hyacinth by the way?

      • It didn’t flower this year. I’m hoping that’s not a bad omen. It produced amazing foliage that was so tall it keeled over! And my amarylis lily isn’t showing any signs of flowering either. At least all of my herbs survived and are beginning to thrive.

    • My pleasure! It’s very much rooted in spring and renewal … so a rather universal theme that I think everyone can adapt/adopt to some extent

  3. Pingback: Colored Eggs for Everyone! Naturally. | Fig & Quince

  4. Pingback: You Say I Ran, I say E Ron – (A Pictorial Peek) | Fig & Quince

  5. Pingback: Persian Rice 101 – An Introduction to Polo & Tadig | Fig & Quince

  6. Pingback: Persian Rice: Plain to POWABUNGA!! | Fig & Quince

  7. Pingback: Fear & Boldness | Sohan ‘e Assal (Persian Honey Almond Brittle) | Fig & Quince

  8. Pingback: Kookoo Sabzi II – Persian Herb Kookoo (an encore presentation) | Fig & Quince

  9. Pingback: Of Rice and Men| A glance back at Fig & Quince in 2013 | Fig & Quince

  10. Pingback: Toot – Marzipan Mulberry | Fig & Quince

  11. Thank you for the cutest Haftseen graphic, ever, and also for helping the least Persian, Persian to introduce my husband and sons to Norooz. Awesome!
    -Ava

    • Aw! I adore comments like this! I’m absolutely delighted to hear this will come in handy as an intro to the Persian culture and New Year to your family! :) Norooz is right around the corner too :)

  12. Pingback: Norooz 101 – An Illustrated Guide to the Persian New Year | Fig & Quince

  13. Pingback: You can take a girl out of Iran, but … | Fig & Quince

  14. Pingback: Growing Sabzeh (sprouting seeds) for Norooz or Easter | DIY | Fig & Quince

  15. Pingback: Norooz ‘a Palooza | Fig & Quince

  16. Pingback: HaftSeen – The persian new year’s beautiful still-life

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,430 other followers

%d bloggers like this: